The embattled Renosterberg Local Municipality in the Northern Cape is in the process of being placed under administration.
The select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements is planning to make a recommendation to the National Council of Provinces to approve the intervention by the Northern Cape provincial executive into Renosterberg in terms of section 139(1)(c) and section 139(5) of the Constitution.
According to a parliamentary statement issued on Thursday, the decision was taken following a “lengthy engagement” between the committee municipality stakeholders, where it was concluded that the municipality was unable to achieve the objectives of the local government as set out in section 152 of the Constitution.
“The committee was convinced that there are exceptional circumstances that warrant the dissolution of the municipality, as it has proven that it is unable to achieve its constitutional obligation in terms of section 152 of the Constitution,” said committee chairperson China Dodovu.
Governance has collapsed in Renosterberg and it currently owes Eskom R89 million.
Dodovu said the municipality had failed to submit its section 71 reports – monthly budget statements – as per the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).
The committee said is was furthermore concerning that the municipality had failed to appoint a functional municipal public accounts committee, which could have exercised oversight over the executive in terms of the MFMA, the Municipal Systems Act and Municipal Structures Act.
“This posed a serious breach in governance at the municipality, which is untenable,” Dodovu said.
Renosterberg Mayor Johannes Niklaas and municipal manager Morne Hoogbaard were not even present for the discussions regarding the state of the municipality, according to Dodovu.
“We have committed to looking into why they did not attend the meeting. This not only undermines the committee but the Constitution as well...” he said.
The Northern Cape cooperative governance department had previously reported that Renosterberg Local Municipality refused to accept support provided by experts appointed by National Treasury to its municipal finance improvement programme.
“This is concerning in the context that the municipality must implement a financial recovery plan, which is necessary to ensure that the municipality is returned to viability,” said Dodovu.
This is the second municipality in the Northern Cape to be placed under administration. Phokwane Local Municipality was placed under administration last year.
Note: In a previous version of the article City Press reported that the Renosterberg municipality Mayor is Johannes Olifant and the municipal manager is Veli Goodman. This information was incorrect and was updated on September 18.